If you over-indulge on Thanksgiving Day, at least you'll get an extra dose of protein and Vitamin A.  There are some nutritional advantages to pigging out, and this might make us feel a little better about it.

We've heard it all before, that we'll consume between 3000 and 4500 calories on Thanksgiving Day, and it will take eight hours of fast walking to burn it off. Yeah, yeah, yeah.  That takes all the fun right out of the holiday.

So let's focus for a minute on what's good about piling up our plates full of protein and carbs, and going back for more.  We can be happy and fell justified about the antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, and cholesterol reducers!  They're all in there.

Health.com highlighted some of the main attractions and came up with all of this good news.  It turns out that dark meat is the healthiest part of the turkey, so you are totally supported wrestling with relatives for a leg.

Health Benefits of Thanksgiving Dinner:

1. Turkey
You can get 25 grams of lean protein from 3 ounces of turkey, but make sure the skin is off.  It's also got B vitamins and the antioxidant selenium, along with zinc, magnesium, and potassium.  Dark meat has the highest vitamin content.

2. Sweet potatoes
In addition to loads of antioxidants sweet potatoes have vitamins A, B, and C, potassium, and anti-inflammatory compounds that fight off diseases.  Just leave the marshmallows off.  That is not a veggie side anyway.  That's a dessert and we know it.

3. Brussels sprouts
Love 'em or hate 'em, they've got plenty of anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants. And enough vitamin C to fight off a cold. Just don't soak them in butter or bacon to get the biggest benefit.  Roasting them with a little olive oil and salt and pepper works like a charm.

4. Cranberry sauce
Cranberries get credit for lowering the risk of some cancers, as well as age-related vision loss, according to Health.com.  And they reduce bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol.  Does it work if it's straight from a can and tastes like jelly?  Cranberry sauce that you can slice into disks is amazing in many ways, but fresh cranberries are better for the biggest health benefit.

5. Pumpkin pie
A half cup of pumpkin puree has 400% of the daily recommended target for vitamin A. Pumpkin also helps bones with vitamin K, and packs quite a bit of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.  Adding sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and whipping topping won't cancel this out.  It just means we'll have to take a two-hour fast walk before we can button our pants again.

If we're going to eat three days worth of calories in one day, it's nice knowing the over-indulgence and misery might help us fight off the flu and have plenty of energy for Black Friday shopping and putting up Christmas lights.  It would be worse.

What else.  The pies will be loaded with fruit.  And there's celery in the stuffing.  We could do this all day.

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